.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Perseverance essay made anthology cut.

I PM’d Jenna today to ask if my essay Perseverance will be in the Absolute Write Stories of Strength Anthology. She said, “Indeed, it will be in the anthology.” I was even more pleased to find the editor assigned to my essay saw no need for revisions. Woo Hoo!

It’s an honor to have my essay placed in an anthology for such a worthy cause. Detail coming soon. I’ll post here and on my website how to purchase the book. All proceeds go to the Red Cross for the relief effort of Hurricane Katrina victims.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Friday, September 16, 2005

My daughter made my day.

My oldest daughter called this morning at 7:30. She never calls me that early, so I thought something was wrong. Instead, she made my day. She told me she is pregnant.
Woo Hoo!! I’m going to be a grandma again! This is her first and we’re all quite excited because she’s been trying for quite awhile. This will be my third grandchild. Boy am I getting old.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fifth Place announcement for Absolute Write Idol competition



The Beaver County Times finally published the Absolute Write Idol announcement in the “OF NOTE” column of the local news.

I guess they couldn't spare the space for two announcements; the press release sent to them in March about my co-authored novel placing fifth in the Grand Beginnings Romance contest was mentioned in this release as well.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Woman Throws Book to the Wind in Hopes of Publishing.

It occurred to me that with such little time to edit my book and prepare it for submission, I might have found the absolutewrite (he he) means of getting my manuscript considered.
Many of the AW members have boarded various vehicles for a trip to our new hosting company for the forums. We tend to become quite delirious on this excursion and are desperately finding ways to keep our senses as we bump along in our convoy.

Here you can see what madness has transformed in my mind.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Commanding the brain to ignore pain: Not always easy or safe.

I’m not surprised to see the HealthDay News and MedlinePlus contain articles about pain studies revealing that ‘mind over matter’ can work when dealing with pain. I’ve been using this system of pain tolerance for years. I think I was surprised that money was wasted on another senseless study on what seems to be a natural defense mechanism for those of us who deal with pain each day.

What bothers me most about this type of report is that those who suffer from the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia are often looked at as if the disease is all in their heads. Studies of this nature, stating that a ‘placebo effect’ is ‘purely psychological,” can intensify the ‘it’s all in your head’ attitude.

While I have used a ‘mind over matter’ approach to my pain from Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis I certainly do not agree that the pain is any less. It is simply pushed out of my mind or covered up with other thoughts or activities in order to tolerate it. I will agree, on the other hand, that if one learns to control one’s mind, thoughts and feelings, the thought of pain can be lessened by continuing a daily practice of obtaining and gathering good energies around you and alleviating stress, rather than allow the thoughts of the pain and added stress to take over.

That is not to say that everyone who deals with daily pain has the ability to block it out, either. Having practiced this for more than a decade there are days when the pain is so intense, even I cannot get my brain wrapped around it long enough to block, ignore, or tolerate the intensity. When I am able to control my brain over pain, it is still not a painless or ‘less pain’ endeavor.

I’ll use a simple example of thought transference when it comes to pain. If one were to cut oneself, he may not realize the cut until he sees the blood; hence the cut begins to sting. Yet if the blood weren’t noticed there would still be some degree of pain later. Another example, maybe a bit more exaggerated, if one hits a thumb with a hammer, there is tremendous pain in the thumb and if a toe is hit within minutes, the toe then becomes the object of the pain. Yet both the thumb and the toe will certainly experience pain once the initial blow has been made.

Thinking or training your brain to modulate pain is practical, but there are cases where it also can be dangerous. I have experienced this first hand. For several months I had a pinching pain below my abdominal region. I tolerated it ‘thinking’ it was just one more ache experienced from one of my ailments. Wrong! Had it not been for a blood test, taken for a scheduled surgery, a grapefruit-size tumor in my ovary may not have been discovered in time.

Those who deal with pain each day become all too familiar with how their body and mind react to each level. Even those who are capable of wrapping their minds around the pain factor in order to tolerate it, I stress a word of caution that you don’t ignore what may be a sign of something fatal. If it doesn’t ‘feel’ the same, it may not be, so don’t let anyone tell you that ‘it’s all in your head.’

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Haunted" Historic Inn to be made into Synagogue.

Orthodox Jews Transforming Haunted Historic Building into Synagogue.

I think Rabbi Shraga Sherman has a wonderful plan for the historic General Wayne Inn. I had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful building in the mid 1980s. The Inn’s décor was absolutely beautiful inside. The food was delicious, but I wasn’t given the opportunity for a ghostly experience during my visit. Darn!

SJGR (South Jersey Ghost Research) used the Inn as part of their ghost research. If I’m not mistaken, it was also featured in a segment on Unsolved Mysteries.

The Inn has been closed for three years now, and the idea of it being transformed into a synagogue, Jewish community center and kosher restaurant is delightful. No, I’m not Jewish, but I have many friends who are. Sounds like a great place to meet for lunch one day.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Bob Denver, Gilligan, died Friday, at age 70.

I grew up watching Bob Denver in “Gilligan’s Island” and “Dobie Gillis."
Bob Denver was a wonderful actor who brought laughter into our household.
It’s sad to know he’s gone. My sympathies to his wife, Dreama, and his children Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Disaster Safety Lists

This article was offered to the AbsoluteWrite.com e-book for aiding in relief for victms of Hurricane Katrina.

SIMPLE SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR DISASTERS
by
Joanne D. Kiggins

Many of us don’t think to prepare before a disaster happens. It seems to be an afterthought; wishing we had prepared in some way before an emergency situation drops in our lap.
Here are two lists I’ve prepared for those who want to make sure they’re ready in case of emergency.

PRIOR TO AN EMERGENCY

· Arrange an out-of-area phone contact person, and keep this and other emergency phone numbers near each telephone. Make sure family members know these numbers.
· Know the evacuation route of your area.
· Identify safe places in your home and on your property. Practice evacuation drills using two different escape routes.
· Assign each family member a specific task in case of an emergency. For example, designate one person to be in charge of turning off electricity, one to close windows, one to collect the emergency container, one to take charge of any pets, etc.
· Choose a family meeting place away from home. Make sure everyone is very familiar with the area chosen. After a disaster, topography can be destroyed. Choose a second meeting place, possibly in another close by town.
· Check your insurance policies and make records of your possessions.

EMERGENCY KITS

Prepare an emergency kit and keep it readily accessible and every family member knows where it is in case of disaster. Choose a portable container such as a plastic storage bin or garbage with wheels. At the very minimum your emergency kit should contain provisions for at least four days:
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
· Cell phone and extra battery.
· One gallon of water per person per day
· Canned and dried foods those are easy to store and prepare. Be sure to include a manual can opener! If possible include a one-burner propane cooker and a few small bottles of propane.
· Crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits and nuts, granola bars, beef jerky, containers of juice, canned soups, stews, and vegetables.
· If needed, include infant supplies including disposable diapers, disposable bottles, and formula.
· Paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils.
· Candles and waterproof matches or lighters.
· Prescription medicines
· First aid kit that includes extra prescription medications, extra eyeglasses, bandages, gauze pads, tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointments and creams, peroxide, eye drops, smelling salts, and over-the-counter pain medications.
· Personal items such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.
· Change of clothing, shoes, and work gloves.
· Sleeping bags or blankets.
· Sanitation articles such as toilet paper, baby wipes, disinfectant, sanitizing hand cleanser, chlorine bleach, and water purification tablets.
· Garbage bags, large. Can be used as ground cover or poncho. (Colors other than black can be used as a visual as well.)
· Bucket with lid to be used as toilet. Can also store a small axe, folding shovel, rope, Swiss army knife, and whistle.
· If you have pets include a leash or pet carrier near your kit and add a four-day supply of pet food.
· In a fireproof/waterproof container place important documents like wills, insurance papers, medical records, inventory of possessions, identification, etc. Add a small family photo album with captions for easy identification.

If you and your family members don’t already have an emergency kit made or haven’t prepared for an emergency, please take time after reading this article to prepare yourselves now. A disaster can strike at any time.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Monday, September 05, 2005

NOAA photographs after landfall

Thousands of aerial photographs of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana on the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site after Katrina's landfall. Clicking on each block will give you a high resolution picture for each area.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Sunday, September 04, 2005

On a better note!

Fats Domino was rescued. He was reported missing Thursday and reporters were told that he was rescued by boat from his flooded neighborhood.

Author John Grisham donates $5 million to relief. Grisham, who normally keeps donations of this nature private, said he wanted to "inspire" others to donate and help "fellow Mississippians".

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

And the mayhem continues.

“One of the Worst Abandonments of Americans on American Soil Ever”
Watch video here.

Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, broke down during a plea for help on NBC’s Meet the Press. By the end of his interview, he was sobbing.
RUSSERT: You just heard the director of homeland security’s explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?
BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. He requested a Congressional hearings to find out who needs to be fired. And believe me, they need to be fired right away … Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain sawed off and we’ve got to start with some new leadership. It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. FEMA needs to be able to act immediately with bureaucracy. We need strong leadership at the top now.
RUSSERT: Shouldn’t the Mayor and Governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility?
BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told, everyday, like me, every single day, the Calvary’s coming, on a Federal level…the Calvary’s coming. I’m just beginning to hear the hoofs of the Calvary and the Calvary is still not here yet…and we’re almost a week out.
Broussard then discussed the difficulties local authorities had with FEMA, including one case where they actually posted armed guards to keep FEMA from cutting their communications lines.
Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. Coast Guard told us come get the fuel. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines…
Broussard thanked the Governor of Louisiana for all she’s done and all her leadership.
Finally, Broussard broke down while telling this personal story:
I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, Emergency Management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Broussard sobbed] Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. For God’s sake, shut up and send us somebody.

(This was one of the most emotional and touching videos I've seen in the past week.)

More violence...Gunmen open fire on contractors hired to work on the Danziger Bridge.

In the same area, according to MSNBC news this evening, a privately owned helicopter with two men hired to help with the bridge repair, crashed. Both men were reported unharmed.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Ray of Hope

My contribution to the AbsoluteWrite.com Relief fund e-book.

Ray of Hope
By
Joanne D. Kiggins

In September 2001 I wrote an essay titled Last Autumn Rose to commemorate my thoughts of the attack on our country.

That essay began with these words:
As I gather the fragile petals of the last autumn rose, I wonder if the beauty of that rose will appear again after winter plays havoc with its foundation. It reminds me that the world, everything and everyone in it, are just as precious and fragile.

At the time, I was called to the duty of guardianship of my granddaughter while my daughter was deployed. She was a Sergeant in the United States Army.

During that time, as Americans watched the news broadcasts to keep abreast of new developments, a gamut of emotions filled my brain each day. Fear. Sorrow. Disgust. Wonder. Anger. I focused on wonderful memories of raising my children and knowing that I taught them to enjoy the beauty of small things that are often overlooked or discarded as unimportant. As each day went by, I was comforted only by memories and the peace of mind those memories hold.

Four years later a different tragedy has struck our nation. One far more reaching than that of 911. My daughter now lives in Alabama. No, she was not affected by this storm, but the same memories and thoughts crossed my mind.

My thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. With this I leave you with the last words of that essay and a ray of hope.

Just as I’m certain the foundation of the rose has been strengthened by its yearly metamorphosis and will bloom in spring, I’m certain our nation will endure. As you pick up the fallen fragile petals, I hope you will be able to reap your wonderful memories, your joys, for years to come and hold them close in your hearts and minds as I have. I hope you will, as I did four years ago, stop and smell the sweet fragrance of the last autumn rose, enjoy its beauty, and the beauty of the world, once again, together. I hope this, for everyone.
Click here to read the essay Last Autumn Rose.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Aid available local and afar.

Aid local and afar.
Louisiana family find little comfort at home with Mom.
Help local and afar available, but refugees have no way of knowing.
More local doors being opened for refugees.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Pitt aid victims of Katrina.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Help with relief effort.

Here are other ways to help.

The Red Cross
Disaster Help
Salvation Army
World Vision
Katrina's Children Fund

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

AbsoluteWrite.com Relief Project for Hurricane Katrina victims.

AbsoluteWrite.com Relief Project underway.
Here are the guidelines for anyone who may be interested. As soon as the final details are presented, I will post a link for purchase of the e-book.

If you've found it difficult to help in other ways, please purchase the e-book in order to help those in need during this difficult time.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Refugees are HUMAN BEINGS first!

Nearly six days later, report after report of relief efforts either being stalled or refused, I don’t care who is to blame. Those caught in this whirlwind of politics, racism and utter rhetoric, ARE HUMAN BEINGS regardless of color, creed, social standing, political affiliation or geographic location; they need help and they need help now.

It will take years for these afflicted areas to clean up and rebuild.

Once again, we, the people need to open our hearts and pull together for those in need. Put aside the flippant remarks and political innuendos made by everyone. Do whatever you can to help. Dig into your pockets, give what you can, whether it be money, time, or commodities. And while you’re doing what you can to help, pray that the next time we have a national emergency, someone will be minding the store.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sick of politics and racism!

Natural disasters are not racist. They destroy whatever or whomever is in their paths!

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina havoc still reigns. There is no room for prejudice after a catastrophe of this nature. What the hell is wrong with the people of our nation?

Yes, there have been many segments shown on TV where “people” are removing items from stores that surely would not be life saving. That happens in just about every country and devastating situation in the world. There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.

BUT, for those who are trying to survive, when after days of living in this filth, and no direction or word of help coming, what choice did they have but to find what was available. Wouldn’t you try to find food, water and other necessities for survival?

To caption pictures of survival tactics assuming that the blacks are “looting” and the whites are “finding” is not only despicable, it is racist and only adds to stirring a pot of soup that has enough shit already floating in it.


People are people, and when there’s nothing being done to help them, of course they are going to help themselves.

Sure Bush visited the areas struck by this horrible storm—after five days. And after he showed his political face, he was once again airborne in the luxurious Air Force One and flown back to his high standard living quarters.

If the AP caption writer, Congress and the President were dropped in this pot of decay, filth and devastation (with no transportation out) I’ll bet they’d be the first to gather commodities for survival. The only difference would be, they would use their political rhetoric to explain it away as a humanitarian effort to help. And I don’t doubt they’d be just as, if not more, disgruntled over the delay in action.

I’m sick of racism and politics.

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin

Friday, September 02, 2005

Commentary on Hurricane Katrina: Something’s Wrong With This Picture.

Once again this nation’s government has been caught on vacation with its hands in its pockets playing pocket pool. The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina is that of such monumental proportion that blame is being tossed in all directions.

Why is it that the government officials can stick their noses everywhere but where it belongs—here in the United States?

I’m appalled at the devastation of this hurricane and even more appalled that these people have gone days before receiving very little, if any, help. What the hell is happening our country?

During the 9-11 attack, Bush sat in a classroom of small children and didn’t budge when he was told about the attack.

Of course he didn’t waste any time calling a war, spending billions of dollars to keep that war ongoing, keeping our soldiers in a foreign country, then allotting billions of dollars for Iraq to “rebuild” what our nation helped destroy. What the hell?

When the Tsunami struck, Bush was on vacation, holed up on his Texas ranch and waited three days before responding to that disaster.

Yet in March, the President didn’t mind stepping away from his vacation to stick his governmental nose into the Terri Schiavo case. A case in which many believe, including myself, should not have been placed in the government court system.
Here’s what the President had to say about Terri’s case.

President's Statement on Terri Schiavo
The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected - and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.
Where was the President while another disaster strikes in another of our country’s states? On vacation, again! So, if the President is to be taken at his word, why haven’t the refugees, who are at the mercy of others, deserving of his special care and concern? Why did he take his good old time and not respond until he was lambasted by citizens, press and fellow politicians, Democrat and Republican, for his lack-luster leadership.

And who else was on vacation? Congress!

And where was Vice President Cheney while all of this was going on? Evidently, Cheney was on vacation as well.


Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice was also still on vacation.

So if President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, and Congress were ALL on vacation, who in the hell was running the country?

I’m not blaming the President for the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, this was a natural catastrophe, but I am blaming him for being a war President and not a domestic, caring “for the people” President. Many people are to blame for the lack of, and delayed, response time to help relieve these people in need. Katrina's Wrath; Preparedness in Question.

Some of the refugees, themselves, for whatever reason for not evacuating, have also been blamed for not heeding the evacuation warnings. Whether sick, elderly, poor, holding on to anything they did own, or non-belief of the storm's capability, it doesn't matter why they didn't leave. Yes, they were told to evacuate, but the way I see it, many didn't own cars and relied on public transporation to move around. That transportation wasn't available or given! BUT all this seems to be a moot point when there are thousands of people missing, cities destroyed and very little organization with what little help has been given.

I don't care who is to blame, what could or couldn't have been avoided by better preparation, or what agency, official cut spending in areas where it was needed. All that is too late now. What I do care about is that this government should learn from its mistakes. Take those mistakes and build a better form of communication and respect for the people of this country. And take what has worked in the past to make it work better when another situation blasts our nation.

There are thousands of people missing, babies dying, dead bodies on streets and floating in the water, fires erupting everywhere, looting, and killings. There is nothing natural about that!

Home links to this post

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


Comment Icon From Paper Napkin